Former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad formally launched a new political party, named Democratic Azad Party (DAP), from J&K on September 26, 2022, saying “it will not be autocratic but democratic”.
“The DAP will be based on the principles of democracy. It will not be influenced by any outside leader or other party. It will have independent thinking and will stay independent in its decisions. It will not be autocratic and power will not be in one hand,” Mr. Azad, while addressing a press conference in Jammu, said. He was quick to add that his surname has nothing to do with ‘Azad’ in the party name.
Mr. Azad quit the Congress on August 26 this year after over four decades of association, following the differences with the party high command. However, none of the leaders from the G-23, a rebel group within the Congress, was present at the party launch in Jammu. Earlier, Mr. Azad had suggested launching a national level party rather than a regional party.
In an oblique reference to the allegations being made by regional parties of Mr. Azad working at the behest of the BJP, Mr. Azad said, “Many people accused me of having a prior alliance. We only have the alliance with heart and minds and people of J&K and nobody else. We have not consulted anyone before launching the party, neither regional nor national party.”
Mr. Azad said his new party will borrow from the ideas and principles of former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi.
“Our party policy will not be influenced by politics of religion, caste or creed. It will follow the roadmap of Gandhi, who got India independence. My party’s name is Hindustani. Jawaharlal Nehru would say that a mix of Urdu and Hindu, spoken in our homes, is Hindustani. We respect all leaders and parties,” Mr. Azad said. “Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christians are just four chambers of a human heart,” he added.
The newly-floated party has a flag with three colours, mustard, white and dark blue.
“The mustard colour indicates creativity and unity in diversity, white indicates peace and blue indicates freedom, open space, imagination and limits from the depths of the ocean to the heights of the sky,” Mr. Azad said.
He said that the party will keep holding grassroot level elections for its structure . “We are here to compete at our own level. I have no competition with any party. Will compete like students compete with each other in a classroom. We don’t have any enemy or foe,” he said, adding “50 per cent of tickets will be given to youth”.
On Article 370, Mr Azad clarified that he never said it won’t be restored. “I had only stressed that if someone can persuade Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji or Home Minister Amit Shah ji. I can’t do that as I have no such strength at present,” Mr. Azad said.
Earlier, Mr. Azad in a public rally in Baramulla had suggested that Article 370, which granted special status to J&K since 1947, was unlikely to be restored ever.